Next-Generation Homeland Security: Network Federalism and the Course to National Preparedness

By Kuhn, Katie | Joint Force Quarterly, October 2014 | Go to article overview

Next-Generation Homeland Security: Network Federalism and the Course to National Preparedness


Kuhn, Katie, Joint Force Quarterly


Next-Generation Homeland Security: Network Federalism and the Course to National Preparedness

By John Fass Morton

Naval Institute Press, 2012

416 pp. $36.95

ISBN: 978-1612510880

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The threats to U.S. national security have evolved, but the means to respond to them lag far behind. After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and countless other natural and unnatural disasters, now is the time to rethink U.S. security strategy. John Fass Morton's Next-Generation Homeland Security could not be timelier in proposing an overhaul of the Cold War-era system. Policy change, he argues, will not be enough; we must change the structure of national security governance because the Cold War structures reflect only the strategic conditions that were relevant at that time. The United States can no longer rely on the forces that made it powerful in the second half of the 20th century, as the international system has changed, so too must our national security system. As globalization has reshaped the meaning of sovereignty, nations are no longer the only important actors. In today's strategic environment, states play a coequal role in policy development and strategy formation, and so they must also play a co-equal role in national security governance.

Morton's recommendations follow extensive, impressively thorough research on the evolution of emergency management and national preparedness. His inside perspective on the struggles to reform homeland security in the wake of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina shows us the difficulties in making effective policy changes and the need for a change to the whole structure of our security system.

"This federal-centric homeland security system we have right now is a single point of failure," Morton tells Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. We need a self-reliant citizenry to get away from this single point of failure. Currently, the Federal Government is responsible for national security yet owns neither the problem of homeland security threats nor the solution to them because the private sector owns critical security infrastructure. The structure and process of homeland security therefore needs buy-in from the Federal Government's "mission partners": nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and state and local authorities. For local authorities to be effective, Federal authorities must respect what Morton calls a fundamental truth--that is, local government is the level most responsive to the will of American citizens. We have seen what happens when this truth is ignored: In the aftermath of the BP oil spill, for instance, crisis management efforts at the local level were undermined by Federal authorities, leading to frustrated efforts by the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners to contain the crisis. Morton suggests improving coordination through the application of network theory--taking insights on decentralization from the information technology world and applying them to management and organization.

The network that Morton proposes revolves around 10 regional nodes. …

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